Here are some thoughts on Ed Stelmach's recently announced cabinet, which looks more like a cabinet shuffle, as it includes most of the pre-election cabinet. I can imagine that choosing a cabinet is probably one of the more difficult decisions that a Premier has to make during his (and maybe someday: her) time in office, but that won't stop me from offering some thoughts...
- Ed Stelmach gets points for bringing some diversity and colour to cabinet for a change.
- Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo Tory Guy Boutilier got the boot from cabinet.
- It must suck to be Edmonton-Castle Downs Tory MLA Thomas Lukaszuk, who was passed over for a real cabinet spot by rookie Edmonton-Glenora MLA Heather Klimchuk.
- With Sherwood Park Tory Iris Evans as the new Minister of Finance and Enterprise, I wonder if Strathcona County will be getting that veto she was talking about...
- Speaking of regional cooperation... Edmonton kept quiet and played nice over the last year, while Calgarians through a fit, and now Edmonton ends up with half the number of full cabinet spots as Calgary. Perhaps Mayor Mandel might want to try out a new strategy for provincial relations.
Paul Simons put it well today...
- Parliamentary Assistants abound. Other than that it would probably make more sense to call them Legislative Assistants (or Secretaries), this looks like a cabinet structure borrowed from Gordon Campbell's BC Liberals from when they won their 77 out of 79 seats in 2001 (except, I think they called them "Ministers of State"). The Parliamentary Assistants position is not only a good way for the Tories to train future cabinet ministers, but also a way to keep MLAs busy in the newly supersized caucus. Bringing Janice Sarich and Raj Sherman into these positions was a good move.
When Calgary votes Tory and Edmonton votes Liberal, Edmonton gets fewer cabinet seats.
When Calgary elects more Liberals than Edmonton -- Edmonton still gets fewer cabinet seats.
- Dave Hancock's move to Education from Health could be seen as a demotion, but it could also be an opportunity to actually get things accomplished in Education (though I think Hancock would have been a much better choice for Finance). I'll be keeping an eye on how Hancock moves on the proliferation of P3s in Alberta's education system.
- Moving Ron Stevens to Intergovernmental Affairs signals is an interesting move by the Tories in their brewing battle against the Federal Tories on the environment file. Interestingly, Stevens' Calgary-Glenmore constituency is also part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Calgary-Southwest riding.
Check out CalgaryGrit and the Official AGRDT 'Alberta's new cabinet' post for some more commentary on the cabinet shuffle.